HD VoIP, Bah-Humbug!

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
CTO
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HD VoIP, Bah-Humbug!

A couple of days ago, a fellow TMCnet reporter wrote about Iristel, a Canadian company claiming to launch the "first High Definition (HD) VoIP telephone service to provide the finest voice communication services. HD VoIP is said to deliver better voice quality and thus “replicates the clarity and efficiency of face-to-face meetings.” TheVoIPGirl explains how usually HD audio in the VoIP world usually means wide-band codecs, such as those used by the Skype client.

Bah! Is this the best we can do in a Voice 2.0 world is rehash the old voice quality argument? Do people really give a crap if VoIP sounds better than the PSTN due to a higher sampling frequency? Last I checked, no one complained that landlines had poor sound quality. Unless the VoIP providers start selling streaming HD music at 128kbps, then having a higher 16kHz sample rate doesn't mean anything. It's not the sampling rate that makes for a HD audio experience in the VoIP world - it's jitter and packet loss that affects the voice qualit experience. We need to solve those issues before we move on to even higher bandwidth utilization audio codecs during VoIP communications.

I'm not even sure 16Khz "qualifies" as HD (high definition). "True" high-definition audio played via a DVD has a higher sampling rate than that (96kHz) and includes 5.1 or even 7.1 channel separation. The VoIPGirl has similar sentiments.

Maybe Voice 2.0 doesn't exist. Maybe the best we can do is make incremental improvements in the voice quality. Perhaps we should just call it Voice 1.5 beta?


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